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Salvation Army calls on government to respond to Federal Budget recommendations

 Salvation Army calls on government to respond to Federal Budget recommendations

Salvation Army calls on government to respond to Federal Budget recommendations

8 May 2017

The Salvation Army has called on the Feberal Government to respond to the increases to income and support payments as it considers tomorrow night's Federal Budget.

By Lauren Martin

The Salvation Army’s call for the Federal Government to increase the Newstart allowance is one of a range of recommendations the organisation has suggested ahead of tomorrow’s Federal Budget.

“We can no longer ignore the fact that the politicising of issues such as homelessness and housing is merely delaying a proper response,” The Salvation Army’s National Commander, Commissioner Floyd Tidd, said when calling for a bipartisan approach to address the debilitating impact of entrenched poverty and situational disadvantage. “If it continues, The Salvation Army will only be able to provide limited responses to these important issues.”

The Salvation Army has released six key priority statements in the lead-up to the budget that focus on poverty and disadvantage, family and domestic violence, homelessness and housing, alcohol and other drugs, employment and aged care.

When calling for “immediate and significant” increases to income support payments, particularly Newstart, The Salvation Army policy states: “Contrary to popular myths, many of those seeking support from The Salvation Army are very frugal and have highly developed budgeting skills; they simply do not have sufficient income to meet all their basic needs.”

The Salvation Army says the high cost of housing and rent is to blame for putting so much pressure on low-income families and individuals, and says the budget should allocate resources to an “extensive increase in social housing investment through the National Affordability Housing Agreement”.

Support should also be prioritised for children experiencing deprivation, according to The Salvation Army, indicating that many clients surveyed in the Army’s annual Economic and Social Impact Survey (ESIS 2016) reported being faced with the impossible choice of paying the rent or buying food for their children. ESIS shows 52 per cent of those surveyed went without meals due to financial hardship.

Women and children fleeing domestic violence is also high on the Army’s agenda for support, with a call for the Federal Budget to allocate resources towards an increase in the supply of safe housing and accommodation, including rapid re-housing options, crisis and long-term housing.
 
Commissioner Tidd urged the government, elected representatives, and business and community leaders to “improve the lives of the vulnerable and disadvantaged members of the communities that we serve on a daily basis. We can do this by working together, from the ground up, making real changes to the way we approach poverty and need in Australia.”

The Federal Budget will be handed down on Tuesday 9 May at 7.30pm.

Read The Salvation Army’s complete 2017-18 Policy Statements.

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